A weed eater is one of the most useful and convenient yard tools you can have in your lawn care arsenal. When it comes to trimming hard to reach areas, it’s truly an invaluable piece of equipment to ensure that your lawn looks its best. One thing many homeowners have trouble with, however, is how to change line on weedeater heads.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to refill trimmer line and how to replace trimmer heads:
Three Types of String Trimmer “Heads”
Before you try to change your line, it’s essential to understand that there are three primary categories of weed eater “heads”. The head is the part of the weedeater that holds the “spool” with trimmer line. Let’s first determine which one you own – or maybe which one you’d like to own!
1) Fixed Line Trimmer Head
The first weedeater type we feature is the fixed-line head. This type of trimmer head uses 3 or more short pieces of pre-cut trimmer line usually held in place with locking tabs on the trimmer head.
There are a few different varieties of this design and it is a little more expensive to own because it requires more frequent line replacements than bump feed trimmers. If you’re looking for one of the easiest ways on how to replace trimmer line – this is it.
The Plus side, however – almost zero down-time. You simply change the tab lines once every few months. No tangles, spool changes, etc. and the line used is typically heavier.095 gauge trimmer line. This Fixed-Line Head also design provides a very aggressive cutting head, for mowing down tough weeds or grass.
2) Bump Feed Trimmer Head
Next up is the bump-feed trimmer head, which houses a trimmer line spool. The spool usually holds 20-30ft. Of string trimmer line. When you “bump” the head against the ground, it automatically feeds a short section of line out and trims it to length.
The bump-feed trimmer is the most common type of weed eater head and usually is found on less expensive trimmer models.
It is considered the most difficult to reload and use for most people. In fact, very few people reload the trimmer head with a new line but instead opt to replace it with a new pre-loaded spool.
We recommend looking at one of the “replacement heads” such as a fixed-head or speed-feed head – to replace your bump feed head.
So far our purposes here is a quick video to show you how to change a bump feed trimmer line.
3) Automatic (Speed-Feed) Head
Finally, there’s the Automatic (or speed-feed) head.
The automatic (speed) head combines a larger spool and a bump-feed head with the convenience of a super easy changing system. It’s a brilliant design and is considered the go-to trimmer head design for most professionals.
The Speed Feed head allows you to feed in long lengths of heavy gauge .095 trimmer line – usually about 20ft. Long.
Once the trimmer line is inserted, simply wind it onto the spool with a quick ratchet action by hand.
An automatic trimmer head makes it very easy to load lots of trimmer line without tangles, snares, or snags. This design can be found on the high-end trimmers and is usually considered the best type of trimmer head for most users. If you can swing it, and have a larger yard, this is considered the best replacement trimmer head to own.
How to Change Trimmer Line on Fixed-Line Head
Step 1: Remove Old Line Remnants
Old trimmer lines on fixed-line heads gradually wear down to very short nubs, but there will be a residual line in the trimmer when you change it.
The way you’ll remove it depends on the exact configuration of the head, but it can either be pulled back out by pressing a button to loosen it or pushed through to a hollow center. Once removed, dispose of the old piece of line.
Step 2: Insert New Line
To load new line, push the new lengths of fixed-line into the holes on the trimmer head, depressing the loading button if your trimmer requires it. As soon as the line is loaded, you’re ready to get to work.
Here’s a quick video on “how to change trimmer line or install a new Fixed-Line Trimmer Head”
How to Change Trimmer Line on Bump-Feed Head
Step 1) Remove the Trimmer Cap and Spool
To wind the new trimmer line onto the spool, you first have to remove the spool.
Do this by first pressing down on the spool cap and twisting it counterclockwise to loosen it from the body of the trimmer head.
Once the cap is off, remove the existing spool.
Rewind or Replace?
At this point, you can either replace the old spool with a pre-loaded New trimmer spool. If you’re replacing the spool entirely with a new pre-loaded spool – do so now, then replace the spool cap.
However, If you choose to rewind the existing spool – Just move onto Step 2 below.
Step 2) Insert Trimmer Line On Existing Spool
First, remove any small amount of remaining trimmer line that left inside of the existing spool.
To install the new trimmer line onto your existing spool, cut a length of new trimmer line from a bulk package of the line gauge you want to use.
Thread the line through the guide hole on the side of the spool, then pull it through until each end of your line is of roughly equal length.
Step 3) Wind New Line
Next, you’ll wind both ends of the line onto the spool together. You want to prevent them from crossing over each other, so it’s essential to keep them pulled tight as you wind.
Be sure to check the spool for an arrow that tells you the appropriate direction in which to wind.
When you near the end of the line, use the two notches on the side of the spool to hold the two line ends in place.
Step 4) Reassemble Trimmer Head
Place the spool back into the trimmer head and feed approximately 10″ of trimmer line out of the head.
Once the head is securely mounted, you’re finished.
A short video demonstrating how to replace trimmer line on Bump-Feed Head
How to Change Trimmer Line on Automatic-Feed Head
Step 1) Twist Head Cap into Proper Position
The first step for how to change the trimmer line on weed eaters with automatic feeding heads is to rotate the trimmer head cap until it is in the correct position to feed the new line.
The correct head “position” can be found – by locating the “Arrow” stamped on both on the body and the cap – then lining them up from across from each other.
You can consult your owner’s manual if you aren’t sure.
Step 2) Feed New Trimmer Line
Once the cap is in the right position, begin feeding one end of the trimmer line approx. 20 ft. Long – through the eyelets on the head.
As with the standard bump feed spool, you’ll want the two ends of the line to be about the same length.
Keeping the two lines out of the way, turn (ratchet) the cap on top of the trimmer head to automatically feed the line into the internal spool.
Note: On most trimmers with this head type, you’ll turn the cap clockwise to wind the line onto the spool.
Check out this video for a great demonstration from Echo on how to change Speed-Feed head
Replacing Trimmer Line by “Brand”
Now that you know how to refill string trimmer line on the 3 different types of string trimmers; let’s go through a few of the differences for the most common “Brands.”
The following sections illustrate the type of head each of the most prominent trimmer brands use, along with any special considerations to know when re-loading them.
How to Refill Trimmer Line on Stihl
Most Stihl trimmers use a standard bump feed head that you’ll have to take apart to rewind or replace the spool. The company does, however, also make an automatic feed version of its head for specific trimmers.
How to Refill Trimmer Line on Husqvarna
Husqvarna trimmers use traditional bump feed heads. While some offer convenience features to make the process easier, all Husqvarna trimmer heads require you to remove the spool for winding.
How to Refill Trimmer Line on Black & Decker
Because Black & Decker manufactures electric trimmers, the process of changing line is a bit different. Unlike the methods described above, Black & Decker trimmers, along with most other electric weed eaters, are designed to have their spools removed entirely, disposed of and replaced with new spools that come preloaded with the trimmer line.
To do this, pop the cap off the bottom of the trimmer, remove the old spool, thread the line on the new spool through the eyelets, insert it, and replace the cap.
How to Refill Trimmer Line on Troy Bilt and other MTD Brands
Troy Bilt and other trimmers made by MTD brands typically come with bump feed heads. However, due to the popularity of these trimmers, several aftermarket replacement heads can be installed.
These include both fixed-line and automatic feeding heads. This gives users a great deal of versatility with these trimmer brands.
How to Refill Trimmer Line on Echo
Echo is a bit of a standout in the weed trimmer industry in the sense that most of its trimmers now come with automatic feed heads. To refill the trimmer line, follow the directions listed above for automatic – speed feed heads.
Now you know the quickest ways for how to change line on weedeater head models- and the 3 most popular trimmer head designs sold.
Go ahead and get your own best string trimmer head in place, and you’ll soon be ready to tackle those out of control weeds and hard to reach grasses with ease. In our opinion, the easiest outdoor equipment you can own would be a self-propelled mower, a cordless leaf blower, and soon – your string trimmer!
Though your exact trimmer may vary, the directions provided in this article will hopefully help you work your way through refilling the trimmer line or trimmer head on practically any string trimmer.
References & Further Reading
- Gas vs. Battery Powered Lawn Equipment – Which one is Right for You?
- Handy List – DeWalt full line of 20 Volt Lawn Equipment
- How to Use a String Trimmer Video – From This Old House!
- How do you tell if a lawn mower spark plug is bad?
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